A nursery boss has slammed the Government as “outrageous” for naming and shaming his firm for a “technical breach” in paying a few staff below minimum wage.
Five Kirklees firms have been included in a Department for Business press release about 233 companies that underpaid workers.
The owner of Les Enfants Private Day Nursery in Dalton, David Smith, said he was furious that his firm had been embarrassed when it was an innocent mistake.
The biggest sum owed in Kirklees was by Laugh and Learn Day Nursery at Heckmondwike, which allegedly short changed two workers £2,154.68 in total.
Joseph Furniture in Bradley has been named as owing £908 to one of its staff.
UK Advanced Medical in Dewsbury failed to pay £896.39 to a worker.
Les Enfants in Dalton owed a total of £874.78 to five members of its team while Madni Muslim Girls School in Dewsbury had underpaid one member of staff by £134.
Mr Smith, who operates three other nurseries in Kirklees and has been in the business for 22 years, said full-time staff at Les Enfants were paid an annual salary which was the same each month.
The breach of the law occurs because some months have more working days than others, bringing the hourly rate down below the legal minimum.
He said all those affected, thought to be cleaners not childcare staff, had been reimbursed immediately.
“It’s outrageous,” he said. “This is just a technical breach and I blew my top when I heard about this.
“I don’t think it’s right that the Government is naming all these businesses.
“There should be some analysis and if it wasn’t deliberate you should not be named.”
He explained: “The inspectors looked at our contracts and they take each month and calculate the working days.
“They said for three or four months, our staff were under-paid and the others they were over-paid.”
He added: “We’ve now changed our contracts to state the number of hours they work per year. We’ve got 50 staff and very few are on minimum wage.”
Mr Smith previously deducted staff’s own nursery fees from their wages but that had now been stopped as that could make it appear they were being paid below minimum wage.
The Examiner has been unable to get comments from any of the other four Kirklees firms named by the Government despite attempts by telephone and email.
The latest list of employers outed by the Government includes retail giant Argos, which HMRC claims owes its staff a stunning £1.46m.
About 12,000 people working for the catalogue shopping firm are owed more wages.
As well as paying back staff the money owed, employers on the list have been fined a record £1.9 million by the Government.
Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders.
Since 2013, the scheme has identified £6 million back pay for 40,000 workers, with 1,200 employers fined £4 million.
Business Minister Margot James said: “It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.
“Today’s naming round identifies a record £2 million of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the government will come down hard on those who break the law.
“Common errors made by employers in this round included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.”
The current minimum wage rates are: National Living Wage (25 years and over) - £7.50 per hour, adult rate of National Minimum Wage (21 to 24-year-olds) - £7.05 per hour, 18 to 20-year olds - £5.60 per hour, 16 to 17-year-olds - £4.05 per hour, apprentice rate - £3.50 per hour for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of an apprenticeship.